The Ducks defense spent the first minute of the game under siege from the ASU offense as they collected a pair of offensive rebounds, but a steal and dunk by Joseph Young ignited the Ducks offense as they jumped out to a 15-0 lead which had Matthew Knight Arena rocking.
Arizona State would respond closing the lead to 17-16 but were never able to get over the hump as Oregon used timely offense and stingy defense to come away with an 85-78 victory against the Sun Devils.
The opening stretch was interesting as it marked Oregon's largest (15) and smallest (1) leads of the game. Both teams opened with their first salvos and from that point on, it was all about how Oregon executed.
Mike Moser led the way with 22 points and 17 rebounds, going 17 and 15 in the second half, but was aided by an unlikely source. Waverly Austin had only 5 points, but added 10 rebounds and rejected 5 shots.
"I've got to be honest, I didn't see that coming. It was just a great performance and I feel really good for him," said Coach Dana Altman
Jahii Carson led the Sun Devils in a losing effort with 28, 22 of it coming in the second half as he managed to keep ASU in the game almost singlehandedly.
The Devils pulled as close as 3 but Oregon staved off their competition and pulled away down the stretch to come away with the W.
The win marks the 6th straight for the Ducks who seem to be peaking at the right time. Calling back to Johnathan Loyd's comments after Oregon's win against the Beavers, he had mentioned Oregon was about to go on a run.
When asked about Loyd's statement, Moser responded, "I don't know if people remembered but we started the season off 13-0. It wasn't really a surprise to us. We were just wondering when it was going to happen. It's funny people are so surprised."
What else seems funny is that as low as this team was with a 3-8 conference record, this team is not eliminated from getting a first round bye in the conference tournament.
It's a bit complicated but not impossible. Oregon would need Utah to sweep the bay area schools and the Ducks would need a win against the Wildcats among some other in conference craziness. Should they not, odds are they would face Oregon State or Washington in a rubber match to move on to the second round of the conference tournament.
Call it, Oregon has played themselves back into the tournament. Now it's on them to keep themselves playing in March.
From The Box
- In the opening 15-0 run, it was the loudest I had heard MKA, ever. This includes the explosion tape when the Mythbusters were here.
- Acrobatics and Tumbling came out and performed at half time and showed why they are undefeated.
- While the final attendance was 9125, it certainly felt like more.
- It was interesting to see how the teams conducted themselves after the Austin/Bachynski altercation. At one point, Loyd cause Jonathan Ginning to tumble over him, drawing the ire of the crowd and instead of another altercation there were two Ducks coming in to grab Loyd and pull him away from the collision